Apps help women bypass states' barriers to contraception


In many states in America, legislatures have erected punitive, vindictive barriers for women seeking contraception, requiring them to get prescriptions for safe, widely taken medications. Read the rest

The polyamorous Christian socialist utopia that made silverware for proper Americans


Lisa Hix of has written a lengthy piece for Collectors Weekly on the Oneida Community of the late 19th century, and how it morphed from a group of men and women who "believed the liquid electricity of Jesus Christ’s spirit flowed through words and touch, and that a chain of sexual intercourse would create a spiritual battery so charged with God’s energy that the community would transcend into immortality, creating heaven on earth," to a company that was famous for its flatware.

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Judenstaat: an alternate history in which a Jewish state is created in east Germany in 1948

Theodor Herzl's seminal 1896 essay Der Judenstaat called for the creation of Jewish state as an answer to the ancient evil of antisemitism; its legacy, Zionism, underpinned the creation of Israel; in Judenstaat, Simone Zelitch's beautifully told, thoughtful and disturbing alternate history, the Jewish state is created in Saxony, not Palestine, and takes the place of East Germany. Read the rest

Baptist pastor praises Orlando shooter for killing gays


Pastor Roger Jimenez of Sacramento's Verity Baptist Church delivered a sermon praising the Orlando shooter and lamenting that The tragedy is more of them didn’t die…. I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job!" Read the rest

Family of teen raising money to rescue her from pray-the-gay-away "boarding school"


When Sarah, a 17 year old in Texas, decided to take her girlfriend to the prom, her parents forced her into an "East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens" from which she has repeatedly attempted to escape. Read the rest

Hours after worst mass shooting in US history, Trump "appreciates the congrats for being right"


Whatever you are doing, feeling or thinking today, stop: he wants toughness and vigilance.

Previously: Gunman kills 50 in Florida gay nightclub Read the rest

Iranian soccer star suspended for wearing SpongeBob pants

Mr. Squarepants

Sosha Makani, 29, was goalkeeper of Tehran's Persepolis soccer club. But not any more, after Iranian morality police saw him photographed in a pair of SpongeBob Squarepants pants.

“Sosha suspended for six months because of yellow trousers,” read the headline of Varzesh3, an Iranian sports news agency. “SpongeBob [trousers] cause six-month suspension for Sosha,” said the online news agency Asriran. ... Last month, Iranian news agencies reported that Makani, who played for Iran’s national football team at the 2014 World Cup, was being scrutinised by the authorities over his trousers.

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Samantha Bee interviews Frank Schaeffer, who helped create the religious right

animation (6)

Frank Schaeffer is the son of radical evangelical cleric Francis Schaeffer, who was instrumental in creating the modern anti-abortion movement and forging the alliance between the Republican party and evangelical Christians. Read the rest

EFF: FBI & NIST's tattoo recognition program exploited prisoners, profiled based on religion, gave sensitive info to private contractors


Dave Maass from EFF says, "Right now, NIST researchers are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. But an EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit inmates, with little regard for the research's implications for privacy, free expression, religious freedom, and the right to associate. And so far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight while doing it." Read the rest

Crowdfunding an Atheist Shoe bus to crisscross America

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David from Atheist shoes (previously) sez, "We've just been successful in raising money for the first Atheist Shoes Missionary Mobile Shoe Shop, which will criss-cross the USA, selling handmade shoes and spreading our European message of godless comfort and joy. The fund-raising is ongoing, as we aim to get a whole fleet of buses on the road. The first US tour begins in September 2016, and will take in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Texas." Read the rest

Televangelist Jan Crouch dead at 78 after massive stroke

The queen of the world's first mega-sized “prosperity gospel” empire has died.

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Meet the robot Buddhist monk

Xian'er is a robotic Buddhist monk that lives at the 1,700 year-old Longquan Temple in Beijing, China. Video below. The temple is host to an animation and maker studio meant to blend technology, science, and spirituality. From CNN:

(Animation studio head and Buddhist master) Xianfan, a graduate of the Chinese Central Art Academy, first conceived Xian'er (Xian stands for virtuous. Er means dumb in Beijing dialect but is a term of endearment) in 2013 as a cartoon character...

(Xian'er) can answer up to 100 questions and a CNN team put him through his paces on a recent visit to the temple.

At first, he didn't seem very co-operative. His head kept spinning around and, like a child, he kept saying: "Leave me alone; stop bothering me."

But when he was in the mood, his Buddhist wisdom shined through:

"Where are you from?" we asked.

"How would I answer a question that you human beings have no answer to?" he quipped.

"Xian'er, who are your parents?" we countered.

"Do the designers count?" was his pithy reply.

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Christian teacher arrested for sex in cemetery with 16 year old student

Kelly Aldinger escorted by police officer after arraignment . Image: WFMZ
A subsitute high school teacher in Easton, Pennsylvania was taken into police custody Tuesday and charged with institutional sexual assault after admitting to a judge that she had been having sex with a student since 2015.

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Billboard companies reject atheist group's 'Genocide And Incest' ad mocking Noah's Ark theme park

Yep, that's a life-sized replica of Noah's Ark. [ArkEncounter/Youtube]

Remember those funny atheist protest ads mocking a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park being built in Williamstown, Kentucky? Two billboard companies with no sense of humor have refused to run the atheist group's funny ads ridiculing The Ark Encounter.

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Mayor of Jackson, MS: "I believe we can pray potholes away"


It's been nearly a year since Tony Yarber, pastor and mayor of Jackson, Mississippi capital and largest city in the state, tweeted that he believed he could pray away potholes, citing Moses's alleged parting of the Red Sea as precedent. Read the rest

Trump says he might let London's muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, visit America


Magnanimous president-to-be Donald Trump says that despite his proposed ban on muslims entering the U.S., London's new mayor, Sadiq Khan, may be an exception.

“There will always be exceptions,” Mr. Trump said when asked in an interview on Monday how his proposed ban would affect London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. “I was happy to see that,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Khan’s election. “I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good.”

Asked why, Mr. Trump said, “Because I think if he does a great job, it will really — you lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job and frankly if he does a great job, that would be a terrific thing.”

Khan's having none of it.

He rejected Trump's suggestion that he could be an exception to the proposed Muslim travel ban, saying: "This isn't just about me -- it's about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world."

The statement continued: "Donald Trump and those around him think that western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam -- London has proved him wrong."

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What a Google News Alert for "Satanic" can teach you


Religion blogger Fred Clark is fascinated with the urban legends and panic surrounding "satanism," so years ago he set up a Google News Alert for the word "Satanic." Over at Pathos, he posted the funny, ridiculous, and fascinating things he's learned. Here's a sample:

• Every year, dozens of filmmakers try to recapture the magic that made The Exorcist so unsettling. Most fail.

• Pat Boone is still alive.

• The political performance art of the Satanic Temple is both hilarious and pointedly effective. They’re defending the First Amendment the way that we Baptists are supposed to.

• Adolescent legend tripping is happening all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Adults who should know better are freaking out and over-reacting to adolescent legend tripping all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Censorious adults worried about Kids Today listening to satanic heavy metal aren’t really keeping up with the satanic heavy metal acts trying hardest to gain their condemnation.

• Same goes for video games.

"Things I Have Learned Due to My Google News Alert for the Word ‘Satanic’" (via Daily Grail) Read the rest

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